Anime Talk: Terminology

In this addition of Anime Talk I want to go over some terms used in regard to Anime/Manga and its community that you may or may not be familiar with. In the future my reviews may be incorporating some of these terms and I wanted a point of reference for you all to be able to look at in you don't know the term already.

So Lets beg!

We'll start off with the term on display in the image of this post, Otaku!

Here is a quick definition of the word:

Otaku (おたく/オタク ?) is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the anime and manga fandom. Its contemporary usage originated with Akio Nakamori's 1983 essay in Manga Burikko.

In Japan Otaku is a derogatory term that is often associated with hard core anime and manage fans as well as hard core gamers. These individuals are seen to be losers and often shunned for their fandom. We western anime fans however have taken the term and turned it into a badge of honor.  We however do have our own derogatory term for those extreme members of the anime community which is .....

Weeaboo (a.k.a Wapanese) is an English slang used to describe a person (typically of non-Asian descent) who prefers Japan and all things in Japanese over one’s indigenous culture. The term is a successive mutation of “Wapanese,” a derogatory slur referring to western Japanophiles with a strong bias towards Japanese cultural and tech imports.

Weeaboo is typically applied to those in the Anime community that annoyingly  argue with people just because they do not like the same anime they do. Also it is used for those that pretend to be know it all about Japanese culture but rely solely on the anime they watch for that knowledge which is often skewed and exaggerated if not outright incorrect.

Shōnen (少年?), shonen, or shounen, is a kango word that literally means few years and generally refers to a typical boy from elementary school through high school age. It is used in everyday conversation when referring to the period of youth, including in legal wording referencing youth, without regard to gender.

Shonen is a term used for anime that target a male audience ranging between that ages of 10-18 years old. These Anime/Manga tend to be more action oriented and less story driven. Some example of Shonen shows include: Pokemon, Bleach, and Naruto.

Shōjo, shojo, or shoujo  is manga/anime aimed at a teenage female readership. The name romanizes the Japanese 少女 (shōjo), literally "young girl".

As Shonen is to boys so too is Shojo to girls, Girls 10-18 that is ! Shojo anime and manga typical have a Female protagonist and the story is more general romances related if not in the main plotline then it will be heavily represented in the subplots. The main thing to remember with Shojo is that the intended audience are young and or teenage girls.  Examples of Shojo anime are: Sailor Moon, Vampire Knight, and monthly Girls' Nozaki Kun

Seinen, is an anime is or Manga which has a target audience of older males (18 - 40). While its true that they can be distinguished by having a higher degree of sex/gore content, this isn't always the case. Because much of the emphasis of the seinen genre is on character development and storyline as opposed to the action found in the teen targeted shonen show, its possible to mistake some seinen for shoujo, particularly when it comes to comedy series.

As stated above Seinen are Anime directed at an older Male audience and are general more story driven then Shounen/Shonen anime. Very few of these titles become popular in the west as compared to Shonen and Shojo but there are still some jems out there to look into. Some examples of Seinen Anime include: Chobits, Code Geass, and Bladedance of the Elementalers.

Josei. also know as "ladies" ( redisu ) or "ladies comics" ( redikomi, lit. "LadyComi") is a term that refers to the target demographic of manga and anime created mostly by women for late teenage and adult female audiences. The male equivalent to Josei is seinen. In Japanese, the wordJosei means simply "female" and has no manga-related connotations at all. Manga branded as "Ladies Comics" has acquired a reputation for being low-brow and the term Josei was created to move away from that image.

Josei Anime is targeted towards older women (18-40) much like Seinen is targeted towards men. The stories are typically romanced related but unlike Shojo these stories tend to fall more on the realistic side of romance and revolved around everyday normal women. Josei Anime are even more rare then Seinen especially in the west. Some examples of Josei Anime are: Nana, Paradise Kiss, and Honey and Clover.

Yaoi, also known as Boys' Love (BL), is a Japanese genre of fictional media focusing on romantic or sexual relationships between male characters, typically aimed at a female audience and usually created by female authors. Although yaoi is typically aimed at a female audience, the genre also attracts some male readers; however, anime and manga aimed at a gay male audience (bara) is considered a separate genre.

Bara (薔薇?, "rose"), also known as the wasei-eigo construction "Men's Love" (MLメンズラブ?, "menzu rabu"), is a Japanese technical term for a genre of art and fictional media that focuses on male same-sex-love, usually created by gay men for a gay audience.

Simply put Yaoi, and Bara anime are stories about two ( or more ) males in a romantic and or sexual relationship. The main difference between the two is that as stated above Yaoi are usually written by women and are targeted towards a female audience while Bara are general written by gay men for other gay men to enjoy.

Yuri (百合, "lily"), also known by the wasei-eigo construction Girls' Love (ガールズラブ gāruzu rabu?), is a Japanese jargon term for content and a genre involving love between women in manga, anime and related Japanese media.

Yuri stories are the opposite of Yaoi/Bara and focus on the romantic and or sexual relationship between two ( or more ) women.

These next two I am not going to go into any great depth with. Those Terms would be;




I will touch on them briefly to make a distinction between the two. Ecchi is a Japanese slang term that basically means playfully sexual, and ecchi anime contain just that. These anime have sexually content equivalent to somewhere are PG-13 and an R rated Movie here in the west, and it is usually portrayed in a playful and or Humorous manner.

Hentai on the other hand is something else completely. Hentai is the Japanese word for Pervert, and Hentai anime are the equivalent of a Porno movie. I will never review Hentai here on this site, however I will occasionally review Ecchi anime.

There are a few other terms commonly used when describing anime but they are all fairly self explanatory, Terms like Harem, Reverse-Harem, Mecha, Fantasy, Historical, etc. so I won't go into them unless I get a request for them. So there you have it. I would like to end this by stating I am in no means an expert on these terms and I welcome FRIENDLY debate on the meanings of the above terms in the comments below. Additionally I welcome you all to add any terms I missed that you feel are important to the comments below.

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